Silver Springs Theme Park May Be Transformed Into a State Park
The future of the Silver Springs theme park is a lot more murky than the famous springs there, but a new proposal may clear the waters.
Some are calling for the state parks service to take over the attraction.
Currently a private company, Palace Entertainment, holds the lease to run it.
Patrick Gillespie with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said The Department's Division of State Lands and Palace Entertainment are in discussions about amending the termination date of the lease agreement.
"Absolutely that would be wonderful," said Barbara McNeal.
McNeal of Ocala hopes Silver Springs Park will be trasnformed into a Florida State park.
"We should be able to go out and enjoy something that we can afford. You can't afford $40 to enjoy mother nature or the park," said McNeal.
Silver Springs Park is a place known for its glass bottom boats, animal exhibits and beautiful waters.
Many locals appreciate what Floridas Silver Springs has to offer, which is why they want the state park system to restore and manage the park.
"I think it's been so long overdue and people have wanted this for a long time," said Guy Marwick.
Marwick is a member of the Silver Springs Alliance and he is the retired Dircetor of the Silver River Museum.
He feels the park hasn't been maintained the way it should.
"Money hasn't probably put into the maintenance an upkeep they way that we would like to see it. Some of the buildings are deteriorating, some of the infrastructures are deteriorating. it can be done better," said Marwick.
He believes transforming Silver Springs into a state park will be great for Marion County's tourism and economy.
"If your from elsewhere and you want to see the real Florida, you have to go to a state park or a national park or something of that nature. It's a different kind of setting and it gives you a chance to learn about Florida," said Marwick.
As for locals, they will be able to visit Silver Springs because it will be more affordable.
Marwick believes the park can't possibly be managed better than what the Florida parks service can do.
"It's not nearly as pristine as it use to be. It's not well kept as it use to be and as a state park I know it's going to make a huge turn around and we will see it regain it's beauty," said Marwick.
I called Palace Entertainment to ask some questions, but have yet to hear back from them.
I also called Jake Varn who is the attorney represnting Palace, but his secretary told me he is in trial all day and all week. We are waiting to hear back from Varn.
Next wednesday, members with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a meeting at Vanguard High School at 7 p.m. to discuss the park's future.
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